Holy Tuesday is observed on the Tuesday of Holy Week every year, which is the week that precedes Easter Sunday and usually falls somewhere between the end of March and the beginning of April. This year, it takes place on April 4. This day is observed by Christians around the world as they meditate on Christ’s experiences leading up to the crucifixion and his eventual return from the dead which is celebrated on Easter. The day is also known as Fig Tuesday as it commemorates the day Jesus returned to Jerusalem from Bethany, passing a barren fig tree on the way, which he used as an example to teach his disciples.
History of Holy Tuesday
Holy Tuesday is observed on the last Tuesday before Easter every year and is an important part of Holy Week. This day usually falls on a Tuesday around the end of March or the beginning of April, depending on when Easter falls that year.
Holy Week is the most sacred week for Christians all over the world regardless of denomination. Catholics and Protestants alike observe Holy Week with great devotion and solemnity to honor the journey of Christ and his last week in Jerusalem before the crucifixion and his return from the world of the dead.
Holy Tuesday follows Christ’s return to Jerusalem from Bethany, not to be confused with his triumphant return to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday after being tested in the desert. After Palm Sunday Jesus goes to Bethany, and on Tuesday he returns to Jerusalem, to go onwards to the Mount of Olives.
On his return to Jerusalem, Jesus passes a fig tree that he has cursed on his way to Bethany on Monday. Jesus uses the opportunity to teach his disciples about faith and informs them that with faith they will have the power to curse or bless the world around them, just as he did. This is why the day is also known as Fig Tuesday
This is also the day that Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard keepers who didn’t respect the demands of the owner of the vineyard, eventually killing the owner’s son as well. The religious leaders — the Pharisees and Sadducees are angered by this as they see the parable as targeting them, and begin to plot to arrest Jesus.
Holy Tuesday timeline
Among the first recordings of devotees observing Holy Week are made.
Dionysius Alexandrinus records 91 days of fasting, a note of the way Holy Week was observed at the time.
Emperor Constantine enforces seven-day abstinence from work leading up to Easter.
One of the oldest Protestant Churches, the Moravian Church observes Holy Week for the first time.
Holy Tuesday FAQs
What day was the Last Supper?
The Last Supper is commemorated on Maundy Thursday.
What are the activities during Holy Tuesday?
Devotees read through Christ’s predictions of his death and the Parable of the Fig Tree.
What did Jesus do on Holy Week Tuesday?
Jesus returned to Jerusalem and preached against the religious teachers.
How to Observe Holy Tuesday
Attend a church service
An important way of observing Holy Week is to meditate on the readings. Attend a church service and listen to the sermon for Holy Tuesday.
Pray mindfully based on the readings
Spending your day in prayer is important throughout Holy Week. Meditate on the readings and sermons of the day and pray.
Stay in fellowship with the congregation
The Holy Week is a time for congregational support and fellowship. Spend time with the congregation and pray together.
5 Facts About Holy Week That You Probably Didn’t Know
All churches have identical liturgies
In the Western Christian Church, liturgies of all denominations are identical for Holy Week.
Holy Wednesday has a different name
Holy Wednesday is sometimes known as Spy Wednesday as the church meditates on Judas’ betrayal.
Holy Tuesday also meditates on Christ’s predictions
Jesus Christ predicts his death in the parable about the vineyard owner and vineyard keepers, who kill the owner’s son.
The accounts are unclear in the Gospels
For Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday, the gospel is unclear about the events and when these occur.
People used to hold vigils
In Early Christianity, people used to hold vigils on Saturday, leading up to Easter Sunday.
Why Holy Tuesday is Important
We respect Holy Week
We appreciate the solemn observance of faith. We like to see people commemorate this important event in their religion.
We want to share with the community
We love the sense of community and how everyone comes together for Holy Week. We want to be part of the community that comes together.
We want to know the lesser-known stories
We think that stories around Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday aren’t as well known as the rest of Holy Week. We want to know more about the events of these days.
Holy Tuesday dates